With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: The Steelers will draft Connor Heyward in the seventh round.
Explanation: The Steelers line bloodlines. Connor Heyward has the bloodlines of one of the greatest defenders the Steelers have had in decades. Drafting him in the seventh round would ensure that they get him rather than competing for him as a priority college free agent.
Would the Steelers be the most attractive team for Connor Heyward as a college free agent? They already have an H-back who is the sibling of one of their greatest players in a generation, and he is already an established commodity in Derek Watt.
Most teams basically use the seventh round to draft the players they really want to make sure they get among those they would like to sign after the draft, possibly those who might not see their own organization as their best fit. The young Heyward has got some talent. They can find ways to use him, including especially on special teams. A seventh-round pick isn’t too high a price to pay.
Even if we take the assumption that Heyward might not sign with the Steelers after the draft if given the opportunity, the question is, is there any reason to add him outside of the fact that he is Cameron Heyward’s younger brother?
He is a player without a true position, and that situation isn’t going to get any better in the NFL. At least up to this point, the Steelers offense has shown no creativity in making use of such players. He could be better utilized elsewhere.
If they can sign him as a college free agent, then great, but there is no need to spend draft resources on him. Returns diminish the further you get in the draft, but they did find Tre Norwood in the seventh round just last year, so we shouldn’t be throwing any picks away on a player that isn’t likely to be drafted and who would have a familial incentive to sign afterward.